Taking cognisance of Khoi heritage

Reverend Gregg Fick, spokesman of the Western Cape First Nation Steering Committee, speaks at an introductory seminar about the Constitutional Court challenge, Case 229/16, which was brought on by Khoi people.

The last good deed the apartheid National Party did, was to repeal the Population Registration Act of 1950 which classified Khoi people as coloured.

So said activist Ricardo Cupido, adding that when the Act was abolished in 1991, it effectively erased the term “coloured” as a legal race classification.

“When that Act was replaced by the Equity Act, which deals with legislation around black economic empowerment (BEE) and broad based black economic empowerment (BBBEE), the term coloured was used as a generic term. The government didn’t say the term coloured exists,” he said.

Mr Cupido made these remarks at an introductory seminar about the significance of a Constitutional Court (Concourt) case – spearheaded by Indigenous First Nation Advocacy South Africa (IFNASA), which represents various tribes across the country – where the “correct restitution and the recognition of Khoe-San as a first nation status” is being challenged. The case was launched in September, and is commonly known as Case 229/16.

The two-day seminar was held at HELP Ministries in Lansdowne on Saturday November 12 and Sunday November 13.

Reverend Gregg Fick, spokesman for the Western Cape First Nation Steering Committee, said the aim of the seminar was to inform the community of the Concourt case, the understanding of it, and what IFNASA stands for. This gathering was the first of a series of roadshows planned across the province to bring awareness around the matter.

“The nation must be educated. This is for all the people. We need to be educated, because we stand to lose too much,” Mr
Fick said.

At the seminar, Mr Fick called on coloured people to recognise themselves as Khoi.

“South Africa is acknowledged for its profound Constitution, which upholds human rights. The Khoi are being discriminated against, however. We are a people without identity, without history, without a future and when there is no vision, our people will perish. We need self-determination and self-governance. We are a people forgotten, as if we are cursed. Our people don’t even see themselves as a nation. Before the Europeans came, there were no borders. Our forefathers owned this land and saw themselves as custodians of the land. Our forefathers were sovereign spirits living in this land with no boundaries, no division, who was loving, kind and embraced all humanity. They even shared the land with the oppressors.

“You cannot, however, fight for recognition, when you have not recognised yourself. You need to find yourself before you can fight for yourself. The majority of the people still consider themselves coloured. Khoi Khoi means ‘mens uit mens’, and to me that is profound, considering how our forefathers lived,” Mr Fick said.

The Concourt case is also challenging the cut-off date of the Restitutional Land Claims Act. “The Land Claims Act has a cut-off date of 1913, and we are saying this is wrong. The Khoe-San existed before that,” Mr Cupido said.

Mr Fick also explained that although the Concourt case is spearheaded by IFNASA, the case is not about an organisation challenging government, but rather “the people challenging government”.

Those at the gathering also said that they consider the term coloured as derogatory.